Magazine article Church & State

EI Paso Church's Recall Effort Violated Election Laws, State Court Says

Magazine article Church & State

EI Paso Church's Recall Effort Violated Election Laws, State Court Says

Article excerpt

An El Paso, Texas, congregation that spearheaded a campaign to recall the city's mayor and two city council members has been found guilty of violating state election law.

The political saga started last summer when Pastor Tom Brown of Word of Life Church issued a politically charged email to the community. Brown, who sent the email through his Tom Brown Ministries, attacked El Paso Mayor John Cook and El Paso City Council Members Steve Ortega and Susie Byrd because the three voted to extend health care benefits to domestic partners.

Brown then joined forces with a group called El Pasoans for Traditional Family Values (EPFTFV) and announced he would recall Cook, Ortega and Byrd. His ministry's website posted an "Open Letter to City Council" that said in part, "If you are upset at this action and would like to sign and/or circulate a recall petition against Mayor John Cook and Representatives Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega, then fill out the form below. Share this page with your friends and get them to fill out the form. Thanks."

Brown's church and ministry organized and coordinated the recall campaign, taking the lead role in circulating petitions. The congregation gathered enough signatures to put the matter on the ballot, but Brown overlooked one thing: Texas election laws prohibit corporations (which includes non-profit groups) from intervening in elections.

Cook sued to stop the election.

County Court Judge Javier Alvarez initially ruled that the church and EPFTFV had broken the law, but he refused to stop the election, arguing it would thwart the will of the people. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.